Best Farewells

Donnie Simpson and Tai Shan
Two D.C. gems took bows in early 2010. After waking Washingtonians for the past 17 years with The Donnie Simpson Morning Show on WPGC, Simpson issued in January his final signature sign-off: “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.” Flanked by family and wished well by the friends and celebrities who called in, Simpson gave a farewell that brought on as much laughter as tears. Later, crowds bumrushed Simpson for autographs and photos as he made his way to Ben’s Chili Bowl. Within a week, and not to be deterred by snow, hundreds flocked to the National Zoo to bid goodbye to Tai Shan, also known as Butterstick, before our government returned him to China. Zoogoers spent the time capturing the cuddly guy’s moments on camera, collecting panda mementos, and getting a quick cry in. The zoo also presented Tai Shan with a frozen three-tiered cake made of apples, beets, carrots, and bamboo. In the end, Tai Shan was chartered out of the District in a custom-made FedEx crate stamped with a panda logo and placed on a FedEx jet—dubbed the “Panda Express”—that bore the same logo and included a riding companion, Mei Lan, a 3-year-old panda from the Atlanta Zoo.